Road biking the length of the Alpine Arc
From Trieste to Menton, the full traverse of the Alpine Arc involves riding some 2150 kilometres, ascending around sixty mountain passes and over 54000 metres of climbing. An epic mountain challenge, shared here through a long photographic voyage from East to West, then from North to South: over 80 images, from Slovenia to the Mediterranean Sea!
Photos: Ignacio Esnaola, Pascal Gaudin, Géraldine Benestar Text: Géraldine Benestar
This article is supported by FRANCE BIKE TRIPS
© Iloorraa on Pixabay
© Nathalie Sevillia on Unsplash
© Jonathan Reichel
Viewed from above, the Vršič Pass is particularly impressive. At 1611 metres, it's the highest road pass in Slovenia. It's 2 sides offer a total of 50 hairpin bends, as well as several sections at close to 13%.
© Miha Rekar on Unsplash
After crossing the Italian border, the route heads into the mighty Dolomites! With their unique rock type (Dolomite) and formation, the Dolomites offer some particularly impressive and huge rock faces. The range is made up of several distinct groupo, criss-crossed by numerous road passes, often topping out at over 2000 metres.
Beginning of the climb to the famous Stelvio, highest road pass in Italy (2760 m) and 2nd highest in the Alps after the Iseran, now legendary thanks to the Giro d'Italia.
© Vincent Vaudaux
The Stelvio is a major challenge... Joy and celebration at the summit!
The climb up the Grosse Scheidegg on a quiet and wild mountain road. Motor vehicles are only allowed up the first 6km. The rest of the route is only open to walkers, cyclists and postal vehicles, offering a rare traffic-free cycling experience.
Once passed the village of Les Diablerets, the road appears to head straight to the foot of the cliffs!
The 4th pass of the French Alps: the Col des Aravis at 1486 m
In the Beaufortain Range, between the Col des Saisies and the village of Hauteluce. Superb views of the mighty Mont Blanc and the Dômes de Miage.
The final few metres on the climb up the Iseran. At over 2700 m, the thin air makes the climbing even tougher!
Mountain climbs can be really tough in the Alps, and each col is a personal victory...
© Vincent Gauthier
A fairly easy end to the climb up to the Col de Vars (2109 m), after twenty kilometres and 1100 metres of climbing.
The Col de Turini (1604 m) is the last major pass of the route. Before plunging to the Mediterranean, a tour of the Authion is well worth the effort, offering panoramic views and some wild scenery, as well as one last chance to top the 2000 m mark. The route offers superb views of the Nice Pre-Alps!